Natalie will be one of the first in her family to earn a college degree. She is determined to earn her bachelor’s degree in psychology and then possibly go on to a master’s degree, or even a doctorate. However, these dreams need to deal with reality. She has two children to raise on her own, and has to stay active with work as well as her children’s lives. She is proud of her accomplishments and hopes that her children will go as far, if not further with their education.
Natalie’s two brothers did not seem to have the same chances. Her oldest brother seems to have the most difficult time. He was always angry as a teenager and got suspended from school on a number of occasions due to fights. Once, he got into an altercation with a teacher and hit the teacher pretty hard; he was expelled from school. He took his GED at a boys’ boot camp run by the sheriff’s office. When he was released at the age of eighteen, he had a difficult time landing a job and worked on and off as a day laborer. He was later arrested for stealing tools from a construction site and sent back to jail. This only seemed to increase his anger towards everyone. Natalie stopped visiting him and now keeps in touch sporadically. The last she heard, he was working odd jobs and relying on alcohol and drugs.
Natalie wonders why her brother has turned out so different. Of course, they all had the same childhood, and their father was an abusive alcoholic. But all the more reason, she thought, her brothers would choose a different path. She wondered if they had the same choices as she did. Did being a male make life harder? She always thought men had it easier in life. She wondered if her brothers were to blame for their decisions and life choices, or if they ever had a real choice at all. She felt frustrated that, with all her psychology courses, she still could not tell why her brothers turned out so differently.